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Katherine Moore, Greg Ramos, Kathleen Trencheny; Set-specific contingent attentional capture costs are modulated by color similarity. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):311. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.12.311.
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Contingent attentional capture costs can double or triple when participants search for multiple targets simultaneously (e.g. pink and green letters). Specifically, these costs occur when a distractor related to one goal (e.g. a pink digit) appears on the same trial as a target related to another goal (e.g. a green letter). We call this effect “set-specific capture,” because the pink distractor captures attention and causes a corresponding enhancement of the “search for pink letters” attentional set over the other “search for green letters” set (Moore & Weissman, 2010, 2011, 2014). In the present investigation, we examined whether color similarity has an impact on a) how attentional sets are maintained in a dual-target search, and b) set-specific capture costs incurred by attentional set enhancement. Participants searched for letters appearing in either of two colors in a continuous rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) stream. Half of participants, in the “opponent” group, searched for color opponents (e.g. pink and green) on opposite ends of an isoluminant, equally saturated color wheel. The other half, in the “similar” group, searched for colors separated by approximately 120° on the same wheel (e.g. purple and orange). For both groups, distractor letters appeared in the RSVP stream that linearly separated the target colors in color space, ensuring participants maintain two distinct attentional sets. Overall target identification accuracy did not differ across groups, indicating that color similarity does not have an impact on the maintenance of attentional sets, as long as the colors are linearly separable. However, set-specific capture costs were significantly greater in the “opponent” group, suggesting that attentional set enhancement may capitalize on opponent-process circuitry: when two attentional sets are maintained simultaneously, enhancement of one may cause inhibition of its color opponent.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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